James Moore now Industry Minister as pipeline push looms

PM Harper gives top federal minister in B.C. new role ahead of oil debate

The elevation of James Moore to Industry Minister is viewed as a sign Prime Minister Stephen Harper will look to his senior B.C. minister to help convince the province to accept contentious new oil pipelines.

The Conservative MP for Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam rose from Heritage Minister in a federal cabinet shuffle announced Monday.

SFU political science professor Patrick Smith said he’s not surprised Moore has been promoted, calling him one of the government’s top performers in the House of Commons.

But Smith said the move also strongly suggests Harper and National Resources Joe Oliver – who stays in his post – will press the provincial government to agree to either the Kinder Morgan or Northern Gateway pipeline projects to allow a crucial Pacific outlet for Alberta oil.

“They’re going to want a strong ally in the B.C. minister, which could cause him some of his own difficulties,” Smith said. “British Columbians, as a general rule, are not in favour [of oil pipelines].”

He described the bigger role for Moore as one that brings more opportunities, but also more risk if Ottawa’s energy development agenda unfolds badly in B.C.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has insisted any new oil pipeline must meet five provincial conditions, including world-class land and marine safety provisions, the addressing of aboriginal issues and a share of benefits for B.C.

Smith said Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline twinning is more likely to proceed than Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project, because Trans Mountain is already twinned along a third of the corridor, it faces less First Nations opposition and it uses an established tanker route and an existing land right-of-way.

“I would think if you’re Stephen Harper and Joe Oliver and you’re going to push it, that’s the one you’re going to push.”

Most other B.C. faces in the Harper cabinet are unchanged. The most notable shift was that of Delta-Richmond East MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay from associate minister of national defence to National Revenue Minister.

Abbotsford MP Ed Fast remains International Trade Minister, while Richmond MP Alice Wong stays on as Minister of State for Seniors.

John Duncan (Vancouver Island-North) had resigned from cabinet in February after writing an inappropriate character reference letter but returns now as whip.

Other changes in the federal cabinet shuffle see Peter MacKay become Justice Minister and Attorney-General and Rob Nicholson become Defence Minister – the two swapped jobs.

Steven Blaney is the new Public Safety Minister, replacing the retiring Vic Toews.

Leona Aglukkaq, the former health minister, becomes Environment Minister, while Rona Ambrose takes over at health.

Lisa Raitt is now Transportation Minister, while former revenue minister Gail Shea is back in her old role as Fisheries Minister. Bernard Valcourt keeps the aboriginal affairs portfolio.

Just Posted

Home care transition could exacerbate worker shortage: Seniors advocate

Advocate fears impact of eight-hour shift model on an industry under stress

Volunteers needed for Pat Bay beach clean-up

Clean up this Saturday, April 27, from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

United Way to recognize outstanding community members

The annual Spirit Awards celebration will feature 13 award recipients

How worried should we be about the bees?

One bee species hasn’t been seen since 1990

Downtown Victoria Shoppers Drug Mart to take over previous Chapters location

The drug store is moving next door to take on a two-storey expansion

WATCH: Police call Happy Valley shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident

One person in custody, another fled following crash on Kelly Road

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

Experts butt heads in court, hunter loses case for return of ram

Despite expert testimony, judgement says ram probably underage

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C. man turned to dating site for pimp operation, court hears

In court the details of how Simon Rypiak lured 4 women into prostitution revealed

Tofino beckons Trudeau for quiet Easter vacation

Environmental group hopes latest Pacific Rim vacation inspires change in prime minister

Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

New survey looks at public opinion around government’s role in forcing immunizations

Most Read